Thunder forward Ian Lowe answered a goal with a goal in the second period on Wednesday against Bloomington, a score that Wichita needed.
“They scored that goal on us against our line and that kind of hit home, so I think we needed to get one back,” Lowe said. “Going up two goals instead of one is big. That helped us out.”
Wichita defeated Bloomington 5-1, a game the Thunder dominated most of the night.
The Thunder led 2-0 behind goals from Ryan Flanigan and Les Reaney, before the Blaze’s David Gilbert put one home to make it a contest.
Less than two minutes after that goal, Lowe answered on a power play to return control to the Thunder.
“We responded right away and that was big, especially on a power play,” Thunder coach Kevin McClelland said. “If things go wrong out there — they cut it down to a one goal lead — stick with it for 60 minutes.”
The win was big for the Thunder, which was trailing Bloomington in the Central Hockey League standings. Bloomington had already defeated the Thunder twice this year, and the teams only meet one more time after Wednesday.
“Going to keep an even keel here. We had a good result on the road (Tuesday night at Missouri), obviously, in a tough environment,” McClelland said. “We came back in here and played a pretty good game.”
The Thunder defense struggled early, getting outshot by the Blaze 7-1 after seven minutes of play.
After that the Thunder blistered Bloomington, and ended up outshooting them 18-12 in the first period.
Bloomington only managed 13 shots combined in the final two periods.
“We limited their opportunities other than the first (seven) minutes of the game,” McClelland said. “We clamped down after that.”
Reaney led the Thunder with two goals, doubling the number of goals he had entering the game.
“I just buried on my opportunities. I had a couple last night that didn’t go in the net. Tonight I didn’t have to do much,” he said. “It’s nice if you get those opportunities.”
The Thunder has won two in a row after dropping three out of four games. McClelland believes it’s going to be difficult to win against any team with the conditions the hockey world is facing.
“This is a good league this year,” he said. “With the NHL being out, there are a lot of good players that are down here and there are a lot of good teams. There are a lot of good players still sitting around out there. It’s going to be a tough battle every night.”
First period—1, Wichita, Flanigan (unassisted), 10:22. Penalties—Young, Wichita (hooking), 0:26; Dudas, Bloomington (roughing), 7:59; Dawson, Bloomington (holding), 17:35.
Second period—2, Wichita, Reaney (Inman), 10:52. 3, Bloomington, Gilbert (Townsend, Gron), 12:08. 4, Wichita, Lowe (powerplay) (Young, Lutz), 13:48. Penalties— Gilbert, Bloomington (goalie interference), 6:41; Boogaard, Wichita (check to the head), 6:41; Lowe, Wichita (goalie interference), 8:13; Dawson, Bloomington (hooking), 12:24; Dawson, Bloomington (cross checking), 12:24.
Third period—5, Wichita Reaney (Lizon, Wright), 2:50. 6, Wichita, Inman (Flath), 4:17. Penalties—Trebish, Bloomington (cross checking), 5:26. Lizon, Wichita (boarding major), 8:02. Lizon, Wichita (fighting major), 8:02. Lizon, Wichita (boarding game misconduct), 8:02. Dowzak, Bloomington (instigator), 8:02. Dowzak, Bloomington (fighting major), 8:02. Dowzak, Bloomington (fighting instigator misconduct), 8:02.
Power plays— Bloomington 0 of 2; Wichita 1 of 5
Shots—Bloomington 12-8-5—25; Wichita 18-9-9—36
Goalies—Bloomington, Festa 36 shots-31 saves; Wichita, Regan 25 shots-24 saves